ISLAMABAD - Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Vice-President and Senator Sherry Rehman said on Thursday that former military ruler Pervez Musharraf was panicked and hurling allegations at the PPP leadership in the Benazir Bhutto and Murtaza Bhutto murder cases.

Former dictator-president general (retd) Pervez Musharraf on Thursday declared PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari murderer of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and her brother Murtaza Bhutt.

Speaking to journalists here, the lawmaker said that Musharraf’s allegations against Asif Ali Zardari were ridiculous as he did nothing when he was in power.

“If Musharraf knew about Benazir Bhutto and Murtaza Bhutto’s murderers then why was he quiet until now? Why didn’t Musharraf speak up earlier when the UN Commission came? Musharraf was in power for 10 years in Pakistan so why did he not do anything for Murtaza Bhutto’s case? He is worried now that questions will be asked about his role in her murder. This is a classic case of ‘chor machaye shor (cry of a thief)’. We all know that Benazir Bhutto specifically took Musharraf’s name in her e-mail to Mark Seigel,” she said.

Earlier, Musharraf accused PPP Co-chairman Zardari of killing his wife Benazir Bhutto – a two-time prime minister - and her brother Murtaza Bhutto.

In a video message, Musharraf said that ‘innocent officers’ - former Rawalpindi City Police Officer Saud Aziz and former Rawal Town Superintendent Police Khurram Shahzad were sentenced to 17 years in prison while five terrorists, who were under custody, were acquitted. “I was quiet when Zardari accused me of murdering Benazir Bhutto,” he added.

Musharraf claimed senior Afghan leaders were also involved in the murder as Zardari had contacts with former Afghan president Hamid Karzai. “My revelations are important for (Mr Zardari’s children) Bilawal (Bhutto Zardari), Aseefa (Bhutto Zardari) and Bakhtawar (Bhutto Zardari),” he said.

Musharraf strongly reacted to the allegation of Asif Zardari who alleged that Musharraf was behind the killing of Benazir. He said that it was Asif Zardari who benefitted the most from the murders of Benazir Bhutto and Murtaza Bhutto.

He questioned as to why Asif Zardari did not pursue the Benazir Bhutto murder was when he was in power for five years. Musharraf said Asif Zardari had close relations with former Afghan president Hamid Karzai.

Musharraf said who asked to make sunroof in the bombproof car of the slain former prime minister; who asked Benazir Bhutto to come out of the car.

He said that a close companion of PPP co-chairman namely Shehanshah was also present along with Amin Faheem, Naheed Khan and Safdar Abbasi in Benazir Bhutto’s car, who was later killed in Karachi.

Last month, an Anti-Terrorism Court in Rawalpindi announced the verdict in the Benazir Bhutto murder case after nine years and declared Musharraf an absconder.

The court ordered to forfeit Musharraf’s property and also sentenced former Rawalpindi CPO Saud Aziz and former Rawal Town SP Khurram Shahzad to 17 years in prison, and fined them Rs500,000 each. The court also released the other five suspects, who were arrested in this case, over lack of evidence against them.

Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in a gun-and-bomb attack outside Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh on December 27, 2007, when Musharraf was in power.

Sherry Rehman, after attending the first hearing on the pleas submitted by Zardari in the Benazir Bhutto murder case in the Lahore High Court Rawalpindi bench, appealed for swift justice for the late Benazir Bhutto.

She said: “It has been 10 years since Benazir Bhutto’s assassination and we are still fighting for justice. We were not allowed to become party to the case this whole decade. Now in appeal against the verdict that allows the perpetrators and planners to go free, the PPP will go on every forum to appeal and fight for justice. We will knock on every door if that’s what it takes.”

She said: “The whole nation anxiously waited for this verdict with us regardless of their political affiliation.”

The senator said after 10 years, Benazir Bhutto’s killers have woken up. “If Zardari wanted to run from the Benazir Bhutto cases then he would have never filed three appeals. Whatever Musharraf has to say, he should say it in Pakistan. Why did Musharraf’s own people try to wash away evidence and cover up the crime? Who was involved in this conspiracy,” she questioned.

These questions, Rehman said, “are very serious and should not be forgotten because we will always keep appealing until we achieve justice.”

Separately, PPP Senator Ajiz Dhamra said that Musharraf cannot mislead the nation by telling lies.

Musharraf’s video statement, he said, was an admission by the former dictator that he was not only involved in the murder of Benazir Bhutto but also was one of the plotters of Murtaza Bhutto’s assassination.

Senator Dhamra said that Musharraf had threatened Benazir Bhutto not to return to Pakistan before the 2008 general election.

“Musharraf did not provide security to Benazir Bhutto as she had challenged the illegal and unconstitutional rule of Gen Musharraf,” he said in a statement.

The lawmaker said that time had come that Musharraf be arrested in the Benazir Bhutto’s murder case and tried accordingly.

Meanwhile, Canadian High Commissioner Perry John Calderwood, Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong and British High Commissioner Thomas Drew separately called on Zardari here on Thursday.

Senator Sherry Rehman and Senator Salim Mandviwala were also present. Matters of mutual interests were discussed in these meetings, said a PPP statement.

In another statement, the PPP said that party chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had formed a fact-finding committee with regard to NA-120 Lahore by-election.

The committee comprises Senator Nayyar Hussain Bokhari, Senator Farhatullah Babar and Senator Moula Bakhsh Chandio, said a PPP statement.

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did not pursue the Benazir Bhutto murder was when he was in power for five years. Musharraf said Asif Zardari had close relations with former Afghan president Hamid Karzai.

Musharraf said who asked to make sunroof in the bombproof car of the slain former prime minister; who asked Benazir Bhutto to come out of the car.

He said that a close companion of PPP co-chairman namely Shehanshah was also present along with Amin Faheem, Naheed Khan and Safdar Abbasi in Benazir Bhutto’s car, who was later killed in Karachi.

Last month, an Anti-Terrorism Court in Rawalpindi announced the verdict in the Benazir Bhutto murder case after nine years and declared Musharraf an absconder.

The court ordered to forfeit Musharraf’s property and also sentenced former Rawalpindi CPO Saud Aziz and former Rawal Town SP Khurram Shahzad to 17 years in prison, and fined them Rs500,000 each. The court also released the other five suspects, who were arrested in this case, over lack of evidence against them.

Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in a gun-and-bomb attack outside Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh on December 27, 2007, when Musharraf was in power.

Sherry Rehman, after attending the first hearing on the pleas submitted by Zardari in the Benazir Bhutto murder case in the Lahore High Court Rawalpindi bench, appealed for swift justice for the late Benazir Bhutto.

She said: “It has been 10 years since Benazir Bhutto’s assassination and we are still fighting for justice. We were not allowed to become party to the case this whole decade. Now in appeal against the verdict that allows the perpetrators and planners to go free, the PPP will go on every forum to appeal and fight for justice. We will knock on every door if that’s what it takes.” She said: “The whole nation anxiously waited for this verdict with us regardless of their political affiliation.”

The senator said after 10 years, Benazir Bhutto’s killers have woken up. “If Zardari wanted to run from the Benazir Bhutto cases then he would have never filed three appeals. Whatever Musharraf has to say, he should say it in Pakistan. Why did Musharraf’s own people try to wash away evidence and cover up the crime? Who was involved in this conspiracy,” she questioned.

These questions, Rehman said, “are very serious and should not be forgotten because we will always keep appealing until we achieve justice.”

Separately, PPP Senator Ajiz Dhamra said that Musharraf cannot mislead the nation by telling lies.

Musharraf’s video statement, he said, was an admission by the former dictator that he was not only involved in the murder of Benazir Bhutto but also was one of the plotters of Murtaza Bhutto’s assassination. Senator Dhamra said that Musharraf had threatened Benazir Bhutto not to return to Pakistan before the 2008 general election.

“Musharraf did not provide security to Benazir Bhutto as she had challenged the illegal and unconstitutional rule of Gen Musharraf,” he said in a statement. The lawmaker said that time had come that Musharraf be arrested in the Benazir Bhutto’s murder case and tried accordingly.

Meanwhile, Canadian High Commissioner Perry John Calderwood, Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong and British High Commissioner Thomas Drew separately called on Zardari here on Thursday. Senator Sherry Rehman and Senator Salim Mandviwala were also present. Matters of mutual interests were discussed in these meetings, said a PPP statement.

In another statement, the PPP said that party chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had formed a fact-finding committee with regard to NA-120 Lahore by-election.  The committee comprises Senator Nayyar Hussain Bokhari, Senator Farhatullah Babar and Senator Moula Bakhsh Chandio, said a PPP statement.